Think-Pair-Share for Remote Learning: Adapting the Strategy for Online Environments

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought unprecedented challenges to the field of education, with remote learning becoming the new norm for millions of students around the world. As a result, educators have had to adapt their teaching strategies and approaches to better engage students in virtual classrooms. One such strategy that has been widely used in traditional classrooms is Think-Pair-Share (TPS). TPS is a collaborative learning technique that has been shown to increase student engagement, promote active learning, and enhance critical thinking skills. This article explores how TPS can be adapted for online environments and how it can be used to improve student learning outcomes in remote learning.

What is Think-Pair-Share?

Think-Pair-Share is a collaborative learning strategy that involves three stages: thinking, pairing, and sharing. In the first stage, students are asked to reflect on a question or prompt individually, without discussing it with anyone else. In the second stage, students pair up with a classmate to share their thoughts and ideas. In the final stage, pairs share their ideas with the rest of the class. TPS can be used for a variety of activities, including brainstorming, problem-solving, and summarizing information.

TPS has been shown to have several benefits for student learning. It promotes active learning by requiring students to think and engage with the material independently before discussing it with their peers. TPS also encourages students to articulate their ideas and listen to others, enhancing their communication and critical thinking skills. Moreover, TPS creates a more inclusive and collaborative learning environment, where all students have a chance to participate and contribute to the discussion.

Adapting TPS for Online Learning

Adapting TPS for online learning requires some modifications to the original strategy. While the basic structure remains the same, there are several key considerations to keep in mind to ensure that the activity is effective and engaging for students.

Using Breakout Rooms

One of the main challenges of online learning is replicating the small-group interactions that occur naturally in traditional classrooms. Breakout rooms can be used to address this issue, allowing students to work in pairs or small groups in a virtual setting. Teachers can assign students to breakout rooms based on their preferences or randomly, and then provide them with a question or prompt to discuss. After the discussion, students can return to the main virtual classroom and share their ideas with the rest of the class.

Providing Clear Instructions

Clear instructions are essential for any learning activity, but they are especially important in online environments where students may be more easily distracted or confused. Teachers should provide clear and concise instructions for each stage of the TPS activity, including how to access breakout rooms, how long students have to discuss, and how to return to the main virtual classroom. It may also be helpful to provide visual aids or demonstrations to help students understand the process.

Using Technology Tools

Technology tools can enhance the TPS experience and make it more engaging for students. For example, teachers can use polling tools to gather feedback from students during the sharing stage or use collaborative whiteboards to capture and share ideas. Teachers can also use online platforms like Google Docs or Padlet to allow students to share their ideas and collaborate asynchronously.


Think-Pair-Share is a powerful collaborative learning strategy that can be adapted for online learning environments. By using breakout rooms, providing clear instructions, and leveraging technology tools, teachers can create engaging and effective TPS activities that promote active learning, critical thinking, and collaboration. With careful planning and implementation, TPS can help educators to overcome some of the challenges of remote learning and enhance student learning outcomes in virtual classrooms.

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